Book Review – Agent to the Stars – John Scalzi

AgentToTheStars John Scalzi continues to be one of my favorite authors, and Agent to the Stars is both original and wonderful.  Benevolent aliens discover earth and want to make first contact, but everything they have seen and heard about Earth (through watching seventy odd years of television broadcasts) indicates that humans are a nervous and twitchy bunch when it comes to interacting with aliens who don’t look like themselves.  And these aliens don’t look anything like humans.  They come up with an unorthodox idea of how to make humans understand that they come in peace.  And it doesn’t involve showing up in a big spaceship on the White House lawn.

This is, as I understand it, John Scalzi’s very first novel, one that he first released on line and told people that if they liked it, to send him a dollar.  Eventually, after thousands of downloads, Scalzi was discovered, and the book was published.  It has since been reprinted twice, and as of last week, is being made into an audio book, read by Wil Wheaton.  This, therefore is the book that kicked off a wonderful career (to this point).

Agent to the Stars is not your average first novel. It is solid and funny and there are few of what we in the writing business call ‘mechanical errors’.  Maybe none.  Certainly none that distracted in any way from the book. 

Scalzi works magic in his dialog, like no other author I know.  Every line fits the character perfectly and adds to the bond between the reader and the story.  You don’t need heavy tag lines in the story to know how the characters said things.  You’re sitting in the same room with them, and you just know how they said it.

Agent to the Stars is a great read, and I highly recommend it.

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